House panel has been fair, lenient with Quiboloy, says solon

House panel has been fair, lenient with Quiboloy, says solon

/ 03:59 PM March 13, 2024

PHOTO: Apollo Quiboloy STORY: House panel has been fair, lenient with Quiboloy, says solon

Kingdom of Jesus Christ founder Apollo C. Quiboloy  (Screengrab from SMNI News Youtube channel)

MANILA, Philippines — Parañaque 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting has disputed claims that a House of Representatives panel has treated Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KJC) founder Apollo Quiboloy unfairly.

In a press briefing, Tambunting said that she respected the opinion of Vice President Sara Duterte that the hearings are a “trial by publicity” and are “unfair” but explained that discussions about the franchise of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) would have to be done by Congress being the authority on the matter.


The House Committee on Legislative Franchises, which Tambunting heads, has been probing SMNI’s possible franchise violations.


The panel invited Quiboloy due to speculations that he is involved in the network’s operations, but he shunned the invitations, leading to a contempt order against him.

“Well, I think she [Duterte] was mentioning that hearings should be before a court, I think that’s, we’re respecting her opinion. Here in Congress, what we are talking about is the franchise of SMNI and this was given by Congress — and Congress has the right to take this away,” Tambunting said.

“This is the process, and as far as due process is concerned, here in the committee [we have had] five months of hearings. Six hearings were conducted, and I think the SMNI camp talked more than the lawmakers. We allowed them to explain their side. We heard their arguments, and we answered their questions,” he added.

Tambunting also said that proof of the House panel’s leniency with Quiboloy is that a contempt order was only issued on Tuesday, March 12, despite the committee asking for the pastor’s presence as early as December 2023.

The lawmaker also noted that despite the looming contempt order, they still allowed Quiboloy’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, to convince the pastor one last time to attend the hearings on SMNI’s franchise.

“I think the mere fact that the committee gave another grace period of three days on the request of Attorney Topacio just shows you how lenient the committee has been in giving in to their requests, that even if Pastor Quiboloy did not show up in the last five months […] we still granted Attorney Topacio’s request.”


The House initially probed SMNI after “Laban Kasama Ang Bayan” host Jeffrey Celiz wrongly claimed that Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez spent P1.8 billion on trips in 2023.

House Secretary General Reginald Velasco clarified that the total travel cost for all House members and their staff from January 2023 to October 2023 was only P39.6 million.

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Eventually, hearings on the network revealed possible violations of its franchise.

TAGS: Apollo Quiboloy, Gus Tambunting, House Committee on Legislative Franchises, Sonshine Media Network International

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